New York, NY – Last week’s news from the city streets demonstrate violence is neither limited nor specific to gender, ethnicity or housing status. This comes after reports of an 87-year-old grandmother and famed singing coach named, Barbara Gustern was shoved by a woman on W. 28th Street and 8th Avenue near Gustern’s Chelsea home. The unprovoked attack caused the 87-year-old to fall and hit her head, resulting in a traumatic brain injury
Police have released photos of the red-haired attacker who ran off after shoving Gustern. Meanwhile, messages of love and support flooded Gustern’s Facebook page. Unfortunately, Gustern died from her injuries.
As more of these senseless and pointless attacks are reported, police footage shows violence can occur anywhere and by anyone. The released footage shows the suspected attacker walking quickly through a train station as well as walking on the street.
“We are asking for the public’s help in solving this disgusting, disgraceful law offense committed against the vulnerable elderly female who is doing nothing but walking down the streets of New York City” said NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig at a press conference last week. Essig encouraged anyone with any information to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Pictures on Gustern’s social media account shows Gustern’s grandson holding her hand and written in the caption above:
“Today, at 11:15AM, we have lost one of the brightest little flames to ever grace this world. I ask that you all give me a little time and space, but I want to make time for anyone and everyone who wants to know more about her final moments.
Bobbob, I love you, you are and always will be my heart.
I love you all so much, I could not have made it through these past 5 days without all of your support.”
As a writer, I weep for a family who I’ve never met before. As a person, I cannot begin to consider what a loss like this would feel like. As a native New Yorker, I hope to highlight the reality that violence does not discriminate, even if people do. Hate and aggression comes in every color, shape, size and economic background.
Unprovoked attacks are on the rise. This includes hate crimes against people of all backgrounds, white and Black, Hispanic or Middle Eastern. This includes Asians and the increase of Anti-Semitism. Additionally, this includes a gunman from Washington, DC who shot at least two homeless people in New York City and three in Washington, DC.
Videos show the gunman approaching a homeless person sleeping on the street. The gunman then turned and fired. The unfortunate proof is that hate is not prejudiced, people are.
Be mindful of your loved ones, folks. Be mindful that humanity must overcome the insanity we find on our streets. This is not an article about mental health or social justice in the workplace, instead this is a plea that good must outweigh evil of all kinds. And to you, A.J., grandson of Barbara Gustern, with all of my heart, I am sorry for your loss. My prayers are on your side.
Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on thewrittenaddiction.com, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Wellbeing and DEI Content Provider, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate. Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org